ISL: Kerala Blasters appoints Ivan Vukomanovic as head coach

Vukomanovic will become the club's 10th head coach appointment in just eight seasons as it continues its hunt for a maiden ISL title.

Ivan Vukomanovic

Ivan Vukomanovic become Kerala Blasters' 10th head coach appointment in eight seasons as the club continues its hunt for a maiden ISL title.   -  Special Arrangement

Kerala Blasters appointed Serbian Ivan Vukomanovic as it new head coach ahead of the 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) season, the club confirmed on Saturday.

Vukomanovic last managed Cypriot's first division club Apollon Limassol on an interim basis in 2019. Vukomanovic will become the club's 10th head coach appointment in just eight seasons as it continues its hunt for a maiden ISL title.

Commenting on his appointment, Vukomanovic said: “From my first contact with the club’s directors, the feeling was positive. They have a professional approach about their vision, which gave me a very good feeling. After seeing the army of fans and support KBFC has, I didn’t hesitate a second. Immediately I knew that I wanted to become a member of the KBFC family, and I am very glad it happened. I hope we will all work together to make everyone who loves this beautiful club happy and proud. Yennum Yellow!”

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The 43-year-old began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Belgian club Standard Liege in the 2013-14 season before his promotion in the subsequent term. Under him, the team secured qualification in the UEFA Europa league group stages two years consecutively. During this tenure, he was instrumental in molding Belgian internationals like Mitchy Batshuayi and Laurent Cimon, amongst others.

He then managed SK Slovan Bratislava in the Slovak Super Liga, with whom he won the Slovakia National Cup, and was last in charge of Apollon Limassol in the Cypriot First Division.

Prior to his coaching career, Ivan had a long and illustrious 15 years of career as a professional football player. A former defender who could also play as a defensive midfielder, Vukomanovic had stints with prominent French club FC Bordeaux as well as FC Koln in Germany, Royal Antwerp in Belgium, Dynamo Moscow in Russia and Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.

Vukomanovic's coaching team will include Belgian assistant coach Patrik Van Kets who comes with 18 years experience as a pro coach.

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Talking about Vukomanovic's appointment, Kerala Blasters sporting director Karolis Skinkys said: “I would like to congratulate Ivan on joining Kerala Blasters FC.  It was a long process to choose the right candidate for the important head coach position. I think Ivan is the right fit for this big challenge and responsibility, someone who can handle the pressure here. I see his passion for the game, deep football knowledge and clear principles about football. I like his way of thinking and I believe that Ivan will be able to implement his football ideas in Kerala Blasters.  We are looking forward to working in the same direction to help Kerala Blasters grow.”

Kibu Vicuna parted ways with Blasters before the end of last season after the club failed to make the playoffs for a fourth successive campaign.

The Blasters have now finished sixth, ninth, seventh and 10th since their runner-up season in 2016.

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